How to Beer Your Way Through Franklin
Franklin is known for many things: southern charm, an iconic Main Street, the music, history galore, and also as a pretty great spot to sip on wine or find a whiskey cocktail you'll never forget. In a place with where the history is often recounted in how many hundreds of years ago something started, the beer culture around Franklin is relatively new. That doesn't mean it isn't quickly turning into yet another reason people are loving Franklin. Innovative breweries are popping up across Williamson County, there are iconic music spots to sip and listen, cool places to try a new craft brew, and not to mention the insanely good places to pair that beer with a mouthwatering burger.
This is just a taste of the incredible ways to beer your way through Franklin, Tennessee. You'll have to plan a visit for yourself to see them all!
Craft breweries are often known for their creativity when it comes to what can end up in your glass when it leaves the tap and slides across the bar to you. That is nothing compared to what you'll find in your glass at Mantra Artisan Ales. Wild, out-of-the-box, and that'll never work in a beer, are just the starting points in their thought process. Founded in 2015 by a pair of brewers, Derrick Morse who came from Colorado and was known as a 'mad scientist' brewer and Chad Frost who was a professional brewer in Berlin, Germany, the duo quickly joined forces with local celebrity chef Maneet Chauhan. Together they set out on a course of creating premium, worldly-inspired artisan beers. They most certainly did that. Within the first few months of opening one of their very first brews - a Saffron IPA - was named one of Conde Nast Traveller's 8 Best Fall Beers in the World. Today in the Franklin brewery and taproom you'll find brews like 'Battle Ground' inspired by the Civil War history that surrounds them here and other regulars with names like Avec Moi, Nouveau, Japa, or Amour Rouge. Not to mention any number of seasonal options and limited releases. The taproom regularly has 12 different taps ready with a selection of both their regular brews and a mix of creative new ones they are crafting! The taproom is also a family-friendly destination so don't worry about lining up a babysitter during your next visit! And if you are a yogi, mix in your next yoga session with a Mantra beer during their daily yoga classes!
In nearby Nolensville, you'll find the Mill Creek Brewing Co. Named for the calming Mill Creek that runs past the brewery, this spot is everything you would want in a great place to chill, hang with friends, and sip on a great beer. But that isn't unexpected from a company who's founding principle is "less fuss, more beer." The founder, Chris Going, was a guitar teacher and avid homebrewer but when faced with creating a light-beer his brother-in-law would enjoy, Mill Creek Brewing was born. Since meeting the challenge of creating a beer his brother-in-law loved, Mill Creek has expanded into a line of core microbrews for everyone. From classics like their "Lil Darlin" a citrus-infused wheat beer (and a personal favorite) to vintage lagers, farmhouse ales, and an India pale ale. They also have some incredible seasonal releases from an Oktoberfest lager in the fall to a summer Sunsplash series and many more. Moreover, aside from the excellent beer lineup, you'll find inside the taproom, you also have a full view of the production facility so you can see it being brewed right in front of you. If you'd rather look at local art, or relax on a patio, you are covered on that front inside the taproom too!
BEER & MUSIC
Having a great beer is not always about doing so at a brewery or in a taproom. Sometimes you want to have a great brew as you are out enjoying a show or listening to some great music. With music around almost every corner in Franklin, there is no shortage of spots to find a great band with an equally grand selection of brews. On Main Street in the heart of downtown Franklin, you'll discover McCreary's Irish Pub. Being everything you'd expect of an Irish pub, you'll find a wide selection of those classic dark beers and of course a three-pour imperial pint! You'll also experience live Celtic music! Directly across the street is the iconic Franklin Theatre, which on top of being considered the best 300-seat music venue in the world, also has a good selection of local brews on tap!
If you want that classic unexpected music experience head to The Pond. From the outside, The Pond seems very non-descript with its location in a strip mall but inside you'll find live music almost every night. The quirky and entertaining atmosphere inside, along with a few regulars who will quickly call you a friend, make for unbelievable evenings easily enjoyed with one of the many local brews they have on tap. Sticking with the unexpected, in downtown Franklin don't feel hesitant approaching what looks like a house with a Legendary Kimbro's Pickin Parlor sign hanging out front. As soon as you walk through the front door, you'll find yourself in the coolest house party you ever imagined. Local beers are on tap in one room then a stage that has seen the likes of Vince Gill, John Prine, Pokey LaFarge, Kingfish, and SO MANY MORE awaits in the next!
Of course, the ultimate mix of craft beer and music happens each September when Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival calls The Park at Harlinsdale Farm home. As musicians like Justin Timberlake, Chris Stapleton, and so many others are rocking the stages around the park, the festival's makers village is centered by a massive beer hall. Inside they are pouring local brews from around the South and keeping you updated on all the college and pro football games across the country. (We love our music festivals, but this is the South, and on weekends in the fall there are priorities, am I right?)
BE SEEN WITH A BREW
Sometimes when you've got a desire to have a refreshing local brew, you want to have it in an equally cool spot. One of the newer additions to the lineup of cool spots is The Rutledge. The sleek black and white designed eatery has a bar that has quickly become both a place to be seen and a place to find great local brews from Franklin and Middle Tennessee. Out in Leiper's Fork, people are lining up to have a taste of what chef Dylan Morrison is serving up at 1892. His incredible creations on a plate pair masterfully with the selection of local brews they have on hand. Whether you are dining in their chic dining room or relaxing on the patio outside, you are in for a memorable experience.
For those who have been around the beer scene in Franklin for a while, Cool Springs Brewery is a staple. As Franklin's first brewery it is the spot that locals and visitors alike have come to love. With their original flavors and tongue-twisting names, you'll find brews as creative as they are tasty.
BURGERS & BEER
Of course, you can't think about great places to have a beer without pairing it with one of its natural partners, a burger! Franklin is home to some incredible burgers, and the chefs behind them have paired them up with some pretty incredible local beers as well. When you stroll into O' Be Joyful, you'll quickly know that you are in a whiskey bar but don't let that fool you. They've got a secret stash of incredible beer too. Once you order one of their incredible burgers like the Pimento Burger, you can pair it with a local brew or fully embrace where you are and go for their shot and a brew combo. They'll pair an ounce of whiskey with a pour of a local beer, and you can have both with your burger! Another classic burger in Franklin that pairs wonderfully with a local brew is Pioneer Burger at Ground. If you want to try something different step up to the counter and ask for "Not Your Average BLT" which combines the classic sandwich with a burger!
Sometimes you just want a casual hang on a fun barstool with a great burger and loads of great options on tap. You'll find precisely that at Puckett's Boathouse. The fun and festive bar area match the feeling you have when you bite into the classic burger at the boathouse and pair it with one of the many Tennessee beers on tap. Other times you want the fanciest burger you can find. Step into Cork & Cow, order the burger, a beer, and thank me later. Home to some of the best dishes in town - not to mention cocktails - it's no surprise you'd also find one of the best burgers. When it comes out, wrapped in Benton's bacon and with just enough truffle aioli you'll wonder where this burger has been all your life. Paired with one of the 12 brew options they have, you'll feel justified walking into this steakhouse and ordering the burger!
No matter how you best like to enjoy a local craft brew, there are a plethora of ways to 'beer your way through Franklin.' What are some of your favorite spots to grab a beer in Franklin?